Budget heartless and shortsighted, says community housing group

Hands off Glebe Inc, a community public housing advocacy group, has condemned the Federal Budget as “heartless and shortsighted” for failing to fund an increase in social housing in the face of huge and growing unemployment and cuts to income support payments.

Treasurer Frydenberg committed to an extension of the First Home Loan Deposit scheme and 1 billion in concessional loans to community housing providers to build affordable housing. The Budget also includes a cut of $41.3 million from homelessness funding in July 2021.

However the government failed to make any direct investment in desperately needed social housing infrastructure and instead continued to shift responsibility to charitable organisations, a form of privatization.

“Subsidies to first home buyers mean the government spends far more on private housing than it spends on public housing.  These schemes are welfare for real estate agents and developers,” Dr Hannah Middleton from Hands off Glebe Inc said.

“This money would be far better redirected to public housing to build and maintain public housing stock. 

“There are over 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list in NSW alone,” Dr Middleton continued. “And the number will grow as the impact of the pandemic and recession grow.

“Before COVID-19 there were 116,000 homeless people in Australia, and more than 800,000 living in rent stress.

“And it has been estimated that homelessness in NSW will increase by as much as 16,000 people as a result of COVID-19.

“Construction job losses are also growing and the sector may lose up to 205,000 jobs by next March,” Dr Middleton continued.

“But spending big on social housing would provide a boost to the struggling industry, and support the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness in the wake of the pandemic.

Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense.  Investing in residents is not money wasted. In reality it contributes to progress, creating job and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services. 

“Building public housing is an effective stimulus, and it’s faster to roll out than most other infrastructure projects. The National Housing Finance Investment Corporation found 9 jobs were created for every $1 million in social housing investment;

And polling showed that 60% of Australians believe investment in affordable housing should have been a Budget priority

spending big on social housing that will be key to providing a boost to the struggling industry, and supporting the growing number of Australians at risk of homelessness. “Building houses for low income earners is not a burden or an exercise in charity. It makes economic sense. It contributes to progress, creating jobs and new infrastructure and cutting down on calls on other services. 

“Instead of its heartless and shortsighted approach, the Government should have committed funds in the Budget to build 30,000 public and affordable housing units, at a cost of about $10 billion, creating about 18,000 construction related jobs a year and helping to pull Australia out of recession.”

May Day in Glebe

CELEBRATE MAY DAY IN GLEBE

May Day 2020

STOP JOB LOSSES! NO PAY CUTS

MAY DAY IN GLEBE – 2020

CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF WORKING PEOPLE

P.O. Box 145 Glebe NSW 2037

 

MAY DAY IN GLEBE

On 1 May 2020:

  • Hang out something red.
  • Open the windows and doors.
  • Position the speakers to face the street
  • At 1:00 p.m. start playing the following
  • Continue to the end.

WHY CELEBRATE MAY DAY?

May Day is celebrated all around the world as a day of protest.

 

In the last few weeks, thousands of workers have lost their jobs. Thousands of other essential workers are exposed to the risk of disease.

 

Business interests have already approached the Fair Work Commission seeking to lay off workers, abolish penalty rates, and force workers to take annual leave or unpaid leave. Meanwhile, the Morrison government is spending billions bailing out big business at the taxpayer’s expense, even those, like Qantas, who have sacked most of their workforce.

 

The current public health orders make it impossible to participate in the traditional march and rally. Instead, we encourage you to play these songs of socialism and struggle in your street.

 

  1. Internationale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkz_sT24zrk

(Bragg) https://youtu.be/PPExpmtdMEw

 

(Seeger – French)

  1. 2. Bandeira Rossa

https://youtu.be/P2Ims2FdW8w

  1. 3. Red Flag

https://youtu.be/kDIuApfVxBg

 

  1. 4. Solidarity Forever

https://youtu.be/pCnEAH5wCzo

  1. 5. Bread & Roses

https://youtu.be/qNQs6gSOkeU

 

  1. 6. Red Flag

https://youtu.be/zEKYQ4GOqmk

  1. 7. Solidarity Forever

https://youtu.be/pCnEAH5wCzo

  1. 8. Bread & Roses Bronwen Lewis

https://youtu.be/BiiKgST_G2Q

 

  1. Which side are you on

 https://youtu.be/5iAIM02kv0g

  1. 10. This land is your land – Bruce Springsteen

https://youtu.be/1yuc4BI5NWU

 

  1. . Across the Western Suburbs – Bill Berry

https://youtu.be/iyd8PaA-NOw

 

  1. 12. Union Maid

https://youtu.be/d5poBU4YE6c

 

  1. Joe Hill – Paul Robeson

https://youtu.be/n8Kxq9uFDes

 

 

Glebe Grapevine Sept 2018

We need a genuine strategic vision
for the Bays Precinct

 

By Jamie Parker MP

In 2015 the government released their ‘Transformation Plan’ for the Bays Precinct which promised to turn the area into a bustling hub of enterprise, activity and beautiful spaces. But rather than transformation, we’re now seeing a list of ad hoc developments that are being pushed independently without any consideration of their cumulative impact on our community and wider Sydney.

In the last year, the government has announced plans to turn sections of White Bay into a massive construction site and dumping ground for their Western Harbour Tunnel. There is also a plan in place to ramp up industrial activities on Glebe Island with a new multi-user facility and the relocation of the Hanson Cement batching facility from the current site at Bridge Street. Some of these new facilities will operate 24/7 with associated noise, air pollution and truck movements.

What we don’t have yet is an idea of the cumulative impact that all these various proposals will have on our roads, air and waterways.

We need a genuine strategic vision for the Bays Precinct that prioritises public transport, green space and employment, rather than more short-sighted schemes that will only impact the liveability of our suburbs.

 

What will be the cumulative impact of all these proposals?

KEY

  1. The new Fish Markets – a 3 story building that protrudes into the bay further than the existing wharf. Construction starts 2020.
  2. Mixed use (residential and commercial) develop-ment, including 2760 apartments. Construction starts 2020.
  3. Multi-use facility at Glebe Island 24 hour, 7 days a week bringing building materials into Sydney by sea. Construction starts 2020.
  4. Hanson Concrete batching facility. To move to Glebe Island in 2020.
  5. 3 smoke stacks. Each WestConnex tunnel smoke stack will be 35 metres tall. The smoke will be unfiltered. A green space is currently under construction adjacent to the proposed smoke stack location.
  6. Sydney Metro West. Construction commences 2022. Underground.
  7. Western Harbour Tunnel. Construction commences 2020/21 and due to open in 2025/26. Underground.
  8. WestConnex tunnel exit. Tunnelling planned to commence 2019 and cease 2021.
  9. WestConnex M4-M5 Rozelle Interchange. Tunnelling planned to commence 2020 and cease 2022. Interchange due open in 2023. Underground.
  10. White Bay Power Station renewal. Details of ‘renewal’ are not available to the public. ‘Renewal’ commences in 2020.
  11. Rozelle Bay. Rozelle Bay is included in the Bays West project. Future status of this site is currently unavailable to the public.
  12. Wentworth Park. The park has been integrated into the Bays Market District development to falsely meet the ‘green space quota’. Integrating Wentworth Park in the Bays Market District’ begins 2020. Details of what this means is not available to the public.
  13. White Bay. White Bay is included in the Bays West project. Part of White Bay will be utilised as a car park and heavy vehicle marshalling area during the construction of the WestConnex tunnel. The future of this site is currently unavailable to the public.

Get active!

Don’t allow this attack on our community and our environment to go ahead. Join Hands off Glebe Inc and join the fight back.

Our next meeting will be held at the Old Fire Station in Mitchell Street at 6pm on Wednesday 17 October. You are warmly invited to attend.

———————————————————————————————-

The “Build to Rent” Con

The NSW Government plan to hand over to a developer, free of charge, public land at 600 Elizabeth Street, Redfern must be stopped. Social Housing Minister Pru Goward claims this is a great development but it is con.

The “Build to Rent” model gives a lease, with no charge and no land tax/  This new version of using public land to enrich private developers is expected to produce 400 to 500 dwellings. Of these 70 per cent will be earmarked for renters at market prices and 30 per cent will be social and affordable housing.

The developer will benefit from the profits made from rents, can borrow against the property and extend the lease under a different government in 2058. What benefit does the public get?

The government says all land and dwellings will be returned to the NSW community after the lease expires. But even if the property is actually handed back after 40 years it will be in need of repair and ready for demolition.

Keep public land for public housing!

The Grapevine calls on the government to shoulder its response-bilities and to spend some of the billions it gets from land tax and stamp duty to build public housing on this public land – no private developments for private profit.

The “market” should no longer be allowed to determine the availability of shelter for our people — the common good is superior to the right of private property.

SIGN OUR PETITION

Please go to change.org public lands in public hands and sign

 

Commuters continue to fight bus privatisation

Commuters are continuing to fight the privatisation of Sydney’s Inner West Public Buses.  Glebe Residents, RTBU-Bus Division, CPA Maritime and the local Member Jamie Parker Greens MP staged a protest at one of the busiest bus stops on Thursday 5th April 2018, and plan to continue to hold these protests on following Thursdays.

Hands of Glebe organised the action at the bus stop on Parramatta Road near Bay Street.

Over one third of Sydney’s buses are due to be privatised on the 1 July. The Transport Minister’s decision will see 1,200 bus drivers’ jobs threatened across the inner west bus region. On top of job threats, Transit Systems, which has won the contract for the inner west region, is planning on recruiting bus drivers from overseas.

The Secretary of Hands Off Glebe, Emily Bullock, said the privatisation of the inner west buses is part of a war on Sydney’s public transport.

“The privatisation of the inner west bus region will see an increase in fares, cancellations and delays.

“The privatisation of Sydney’s ferries saw increases in fares, two times the number of trips cancelled and a 36% increase in delays, all within the first year.

“Mike Baird promised that the privatisation of Newcastle’s buses would result in ‘better and more frequent’ services,” Ms Bullock said.

“Instead it has resulted in many commuters needing to catch two or three buses, when previously only one bus was needed. The new Sydney metro line is set to be the next casualty in this fight.

About Hands Off Glebe:

Hands off Glebe is an incorporated voluntary group meeting monthly in Glebe. Its ideals include expansion of public housing, protection of heritage, public discussion of development proposals; full community consultation by government; commitment to a liveable inner city environment for all residents and information sharing to all who live in our area.

 

Evictions in Wentworth Park

Media release

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 

Wentworth Park evictions Martin Place all over again

The Berejiklian Government is moving on the homeless people living under the arches in Wentworth Park.  It is a victory for appearance versus real action on homelessness in Sydney and smacks of a heartless Government.

“The homeless have been promised 7 day free accommodation and further month of free accommodation while a permanent home is found for them.  We welcome good accommodation for all people but we suspect that this approach is just superficial ‘tidying up’,” said Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe.

“Police are in attendance from time to time to add muscle to the evictions while a 24 hour presence of security officers is employed to keep the arches ‘clean’ of people.  Investment in enforcement instead of investment in people.

“Almost within eyesight is the development where public housing land has been converted into ritzy apartments with names like West End and costing as much as $2.3 million each.

“But where is the NSW Government investment in housing for the homelessand the services they need to live successfully in new homes?

“Instead, as the waiting list for public housing goes over 60,000 the NSW Government has sold off about 4,000 public housing places in the inner city and failed to invest funds in public housing, Denis Doherty said.

“The actions of police backed up by the new laws is part of the process of preparing Wentworth Park for the new Fish Markets which will see the building of 2,760 apartments, not one of which will be for social housing.

“The time for a rethink about housing for lower social economic groups has long been with us.  The solution is not the use of police but investment in social housing,” he concluded.

 

 

Media Release on Fish Market Survey – Community rejects Government Plans

Media Release

Monday July 3, 2017

Community Survey rejects Government’s plans for Fish Market.

The announcement of the architect for proposed changes to the Fish Market coincided with an extensive community survey being conducted by the local activist group Hands off Glebe Inc.  Surveys were on line and nearly 6,000 questionnaires were distributed throughout Glebe and Ultimo.

Hands off Glebe Inc runs a local newsletter called ‘The Glebe Grapevine’ which is a bi monthly publication placed in letterboxes around the suburb.

“This month’s edition of the Glebe Grapevine spurred on by a very successful public meeting about the Bays Precinct, the Fish Market and associated issues, decided to conduct a survey of Glebe and Ultimo residents using the hand delivered Grapevine. We also provided an electronic survey for people outside the suburb. The questions are the work and responsibility of the committee,”  Denis Doherty, convenor of Hands off Glebe, said.

“We had a good response to our survey and local businesses were prepared to be drop off points for completed surveys.  The responses were in the majority from Glebe (84%) while we received 3% from Ultimo, 3% from Drummoyne, 3% from Leichhardt, 2% from Annandale and the remaining 5% from other suburbs.

“Residents are alarmed that the very valuable park near the site is in danger of being eroded by the new development.

“They are not happy that the residential area is largely for the wealthy and does not make allowances for social housing.  This is an insensitive response to the current housing crisis in Sydney.  Local residents know that in direct eyesight of the new development nearly 100 homeless people are living in tents under the viaduct which cuts through Wentworth Park.

“The greater influx of traffic caused by the new expanded market will only result in further congestion of an already congested Glebe and Ultimo.

“There are other concerns highlighted by the survey such as pollution of the bay.  The effect on the school has not been considered.

“By far and away the most important issue to the community was access to the foreshore for passive and active recreation.  The community wants the walkway around the bays to the city extended through this site as well open space for all.

 

Copies of the survey results and questions are available on our website.

www.handsoffglebe.org

for more information

contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

 

FEDERAL ELECTION 2016 – EXTENDED COMMENTS ON HOUSING

JULY 2 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION

CANDIDATES FOR SEAT OF SYDNEY

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates were contacted and sent replies which are published in full below

 

WINTERS Geoffrey             Liberals

ELLSMORE Sylvie              Greens

BOYLE Peter                        Socialist Alliance

TZORAS Tula                       Online Direct Democracy Party

 

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates were contacted but did not reply

 

FALANGA Ula                      Christian Democrats

PLIBERSEK Tanya             Labor

 

____________________________________________________________

 

The following candidates had not nominated when the Glebe Grapevine sent out the questionnaire and were therefore not invited to respond to the questionnaire

 

BERRIMAN Mark                 Animal Justice

SPIKE Chris                         Sustainable Australia Party

GEISER Tom                        Science Party

LANNING Rebecca             Sex Party


 

Responses

Sylvie Ellsmore    Greens

The 16 year waiting list for public housing in NSW has been caused by under-investment by successive State and Territory Governments, who have not only failed to build sufficient new housing, but failed to maintain existing housing stock, creating a false sense of crisis and is being used as an argument that public housing is too expensive to maintain, and needs to be selectively sold off.

The Greens strongly support greater funding for public housing. Specifically, the Greens will reform negative gearing and removing capital gains tax discounts, and redirect the $6.8 billion estimated cost pa to increasing public housing and homeless services. It is possible to redirect this funding to provide housing for everyone on the public housing waiting list by 2030 – the Greens have costed plans available at http://greens.org.au/

The Glebe Estate has been a vital part of Glebe for generations, and must be protected. The Greens are proud to stand with residents in their campaign to protect against attempts to run down or sell public housing in Glebe. As someone who grew up in Glebe and whose family still lives here, I know first hand the valuable contribution that estate has made to making Glebe a strong community.

  1. It is a national disgrace that in Australia, as one of the richest nations in the world, 105,000 Australians don’t have a place to call home, and that more than a quarter are children under 18. Seventy percent of young people who end up homeless are fleeing domestic violence or family breakdown.

With most crisis refuges reliant on Federal funding, and only 6% of people seeking long term accommodation being housed, a key action to address homelessness is to significantly restore and expand Federal
funding for refuges, including specialist refuges to tailor for key groups at risk at homelessness including woman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and young people. At the State level the Greens strongly opposed reforms which saw specialist women’s refugees become general services.

In addition to those noted above, federally the Greens housing proposals include:

– Doubling the federal funding for Specialist Homelessness Services under the original National Affordable Housing Agreement (and index the funding by 7%), at a cost of $507 million pa;
– Signing a new ten year National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness and double funding under the original agreement, at a cost of $320 million pa; and
-Reversing the cuts to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which helps people on low incomes afford the extremely high rents in Sydney.

Obviously homelessness is a complex issue, and addressing homelessness also requires ensuring there are other adequate, publicly accessible social services for the inner city.

Also, for those living in housing stress who are at risk of homeless, most of whom are in the private rental market, the Greens support national standards to increase rights for renters, including protection for security of tenure, an end to no fault tenancy terminations and the generally capping of annual rent increases to CPI.

  1. As our city grows, it is important that new housing is built close to transport – which includes increased densities in the inner city. However, this must be sustainable, meaning that new development must be accompanied by infrastructure including new green spaces, child care centres, schools, public transport and other strategies to reduce car dependence.

Crucially, residents must have a genuine say about development in their local area. As a former Marrickville Councillor I was proud to both work to ensuring that new builds included genuine affordable housing where possible, and to stand with residents in campaigns against proposed over-development in the innerwest. Too often exceptions and concessions are given to large developers, with minimal requirements to give back to the community. In Glebe, the Greens were proud to stand with in their community campaign residents to win concessions at Harold Park, but we still have far to go to ensure our laws are guided by community needs and not developer greed.

The lack of ability for local Councils to enforce genuine affordable housing targets in new developments is out of step with other global cities like New York and London, and is helping drive housing unaffordability in Sydney. The Greens support a 30%-50% housing affordability target for large urban growth projects.

  1. I support a vacant property tax. Recent research shows inner city vacancies of rental properties is very high in inner Sydney – up to 14%. Despite a very tight housing market, tax incentives encourage some landlords to leave properties vacant. This must change. As part of our housing policies, the Greens have released a “convert to rent package” which includes incentives for landlords to convert vacant properties to low cost rental.

For more details about the Greens policies please see: http://greens.org.au/ or contact the campaign at sydney@nsw.greens.org.au
PETER BOYLE – SOCIALIST ALLIANCE

  1.      Do you support greater Federal funding for public housing?

 

Yes. The federal government needs to take major responsibility for infrastructure in all major cities because that is where most people live and it has the power to raise revenue though progressive income taxation.

 

Federal and state governments have been neglecting public infrastructure for decades because they believed that cutting social spending and increasing corporate handouts would be “good for the economy”. It didn’t work. The rich just got richer while our public services and infrastructure — including public housing stock — were run down and distorted.

 

Now, we have to catch up for these lost decades of privation.

 

A major federal investment in public housing is a key infrastructure need.

 

Sydney’s “housing market” might be producing big profits for developers, real estate agents and speculators, but it is failing to deliver affordable and quality housing.

 

More and more people – especially people with young families – are finding it impossible to afford to rent, let alone buy.

 

At least two generations have been denied the dream of owning their own home, while others have become debt slaves to try to pay off ridiculous mortgages.

 

Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a study by Anglicare Sydney.

 

And the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market is shocking. They are total dumps!

 

There were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year in NSW. The Baird Coalition government has only promised to build 9000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock.

 

This is a social disaster that the federal government needs to address.

 

We need to make housing a social right. We could build quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing at a fraction of the price that “the market” is demanding.

 

This is also part of the urgently needed infrastructure investment in addressing the climate change emergency.

 

  1.      How would you resolve homelessness in Glebe?

 

The preconditions for addressing homelessness in Glebe – and anywhere else – are: a. More affordable housing; b. More appropriate housing, addressing the special needs of many of the people who are currently homeless; and c. More appropriate social services, including mental health services, which are all currently facing cuts.

 

Once again, federal funding is needed to address these needs for the reasons I cited above.

 

  1.      What is your view on inner city housing density?

 

There is a social and environmental need to have more medium density housing in Sydney. However, under the current rules and regulations, big developers are having a field day and residents and communities are severely disempowered.

 

Driven by sheer greed, developers are trying to squeeze in as much high-rise housing and commercial buildings into inner city along key transport corridors.

 

Mirvac’s high-rise plans for the Pyrmont Shopping Centre re-development and the Central to Eveleigh precinct are examples of this. Another example is Deicorp’s plans for the historic Redfern Block. And who knows what other horrors are planned with the Waterloo public housing redevelopment?

 

The community is never told the full story, and what we are told often comes far too late for effective community response.

 

The rules and regulations favour the big developers and often the community has no real say at all.

 

As a general rule I favour a five-storey limit on all suburban, including inner-Sydney suburban, housing developments. This would cater to social well-being as well as the community’s need to preserve heritage and historical significance.

 

Relatively high housing densities have been reached in cities like Barcelona, with similar restrictions on high-rise building.

 

  1.      Do you agree with a vacant property tax?

 

Yes, a vacant property tax would play a useful role in reducing the high rate of vacant housing in Sydney.

 

According to a recent media report, 90,000 properties are left vacant across greater Sydney, with the vacancy rate as high as one in seven in some parts of the Sydney electorate.

 

This adds to housing shortages and lifts rents. Basically, speculators are “parking” money in vacant buildings and just waiting to rake in capital gains in a skyrocketing property market.

 

 

Biography for Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney

 

I have lived in Sydney’s inner-west for 25 years and have raised two daughters in the area.

 

I have had a long involvement with the Aboriginal rights’ movement, especially in the campaign against deaths in custody and the struggle for land rights.

 

I have also been involved in protests to save public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and in Redfern.

 

I was one of the founding national convenors of the Socialist Alliance and I now co-convene the Sydney Central branch of the Socialist Alliance. I write regularly for the newspaper Green Left Weekly.

Tula Tzoras — Online Direct Democracy

  1. I personally support greater funding for public housing and we offer voters the opportunity to vote online taking the majority vote straight to Parliament.
  2. My view is that no one need be homeless in Australia. The Federal Government should make all property available and cap rental costs. People should not pay more than 30% of their income in rent. I have suffered having to move countless times due to no fault of my own. Housing is vital to one’s safety and wellbeing.
  3. The Sydney electorate is a densely populated area, with Westconnex weather, we can however control our waste and emissions by choosing public transport instead of cars, doing everything we can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible.
  4. My own opinion is that vacant property should be put to use by housing the homeless. Otherwise yes I do support a vacant property tax. Of course my own views don’t matter as I represent the people.

 

Geoffrey Winters    Liberal Party

The coalition recognizes the shortage of housing in Australia is a serious social issue and the impact it is having, particularly on families and lower income earners.

The Turnbull Government is committed to a strong new economy, with a focus on creating jobs for all Australians.  Having a strong economy will ensure all Australians who can work, can gain employment.

The Turnbull Government provides a strong and targeted safety net to support Australians who are not working, spending $158.6 billion in 2016-17 (35per cent of the total government Budget).  Our safety net provides income support, rent assistance, rent assistance, and employment service support to try and help people back into work as soon as possible.

Labor cut funding for homelessness in their last budget, failing to make any provision for National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness after 30 June 2014.

The Turnbull Government has not only restored this funding, we have extended funding for the NPAH providing $115 million a year to State and Territories for a further two years.

Housing density and property taxes are matters that are responsibility of the state and territory governments.

 

Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace! jan 24 2016

Baird’s Privatisation of Public Housing labelled a disgrace!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The ten year framework on public housing released today is a recipe for more disadvantage and more unaffordability in the housing market.  The Hands off Glebe group a public housing advocate group situated in the suburb of Glebe but with links to many other groups across NSW condemns the outright theft of public property to aid the developer, the construction companies and NOT the people who need a home.

“Covered by smooth words and a few tidbits of genuine progressive ideas is the bare faced theft  of the property of the people and bestowed on the rich, a move taken straight from the neo liberal manual of less government and socialism for the wealthy.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Hands off Glebe group.

“The private sector cannot solve the housing crisis neither can ‘Housing providers’, the framework is a con designed to obscure theft and leave unaffordability a more entrenched problem for the years to come.

“Framework contains phrases such as ‘community housing providers would do a great job’, long on wishful thinking and low on reality.  It is obvious that ‘community housing providers’ have to run on a profit to enable them to grow and maintain the maintenance costs.  Like private hospitals, difficult clients and the most expensive are left to the public sector to fix while the best or most able to pay rent are taken by the private sector.

“$2 million on childcare is ‘chicken feed’ compared to the support services needed.  $2 million would only build one or two childcare centres.  The TAFE system has been run down so comprehensively by this Government yet it is expected to give damaged people the ability to lift themselves up by the bootlaces.  Wishful thinking at best and at worst according the well-worn practice of past housing ministers in this liberal NSW Government weasel words.  Shameful!

“‘Mix’ is another weasel word which in reality means nothing.  Wherever private housing is next to social housing, the private owners team up to build a fence to make the separation real between them and those in social housing.

“Old stock contains some of the most important heritage cottages and architectural icons of the past century and the bulldozing of them will not please anyone let alone those among the population who value our urban heritage.

“The stock is in a shocking state we agree but we add that is because past State and Federal Governments have allowed the stock to deteriorate, the auditor General said two years ago that the present Government was $300 million behind in its maintenance tasks.  Despite earning nearly $1 billion a month during the housing boom the Baird Government cynically refused to invest in public housing and maintenance.  Instead they spent it or are spending it on ‘white elephants’ such as the ‘Westconnex’.

We call on the Baird Government to think again about public housing and its objectionable ‘ten year framework’ which will usher in an even more disadvantaged underclass in this state than we have at present!

We call on the Baird Government to first of all set about housing those on the waiting list, the homeless, and to invest in maintenance of the present stock of social housing.  When this is nearing completion it will be time to think of a fair and just ten year scheme for public housing.

A British commentator speaking of the housing crisis in the UK made a comment that can equally be applied here:  “We are in a housing crisis that extends from the homeless on the street well into the middle class.  We have couples deciding not to have children because they do not have the space to house them.  We have people paying extortionate rents,  Yet ministers just sit there like gouty old men in the 19th hole.

Nick Cohen Spectator.  (UK)

For more information:  contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or Julie Brackenreg 0401 516 482

Visit our website:  www.handsoffglebe.org

Or our Facebook page:  hands off glebe

Housing in the news – Oct 24 2014

Governments sleep at the wheel as housing affordability crashes

16 October 2014

The Australian Council of Social Service today urged Australian Governments to take coordinated action to tackle the worsening housing supply crisis.

“New data shows that the housing supply crisis is getting worse and this is taking a heavy toll on first home buyers and low and moderate income renters who are under increasing financial stress,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

The new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlighted the serious gap between housing demand and supply, with as estimated shortage of 284,000 dwellings in 2011 projected to increase due to population growth, ageing and decreasing household size.

“‘We know that exorbitant rents, particularly in our major cities, is placing a great deal of stress on families, with 47% of low-income earners paying more than 30% of their income in rent. This is one of the major factors driving people into poverty.”

“Commonwealth Rent Assistance has a major impact on households’ rental affordability, with the AIHW report showing a 27% point reduction in the number of low-income recipients in housing stress after receiving this targeted assistance. Our concern is that this vital rent assistance payment is not keeping up with the rise in community living standards and call for an immediate increase in the maximum rate. The gap between the maximum rate of Rent Assistance and average rent has grown steadily because CRA is linked to the CPI, rather than to national average increases in rent.

“The report also found that social housing schemes, which are highly targeted to people in greatest need, have been extremely effective, however waiting lists continue to grow and supply is not keeping up. As at 30 June 2013, there were over 217,000 households on waiting lists for social housing. There is a critical shortage of over 500,000 rental properties that are affordable and available to low income renters which must be addressed.

“While Australia’s housing situation becomes ever more critical, governments seem to be asleep at the wheel. There is no national affordable housing strategy and growing uncertainty about the future of funding for housing and homelessness investment and programs.

“The most recent budget reduced funding to the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which will result in a loss of 12,000 affordable housing dwellings. At the same time, it extended funding for homelessness services for only another 12 months, with growing uncertainty again in the sector about the future of services and those who rely on them for support.

“The Federal Government has a vital leadership role to play in setting national housing policy to ensure all arms of government are working towards increasing the supply of affordable housing stock, alleviating rental stress and ensure pathways out of homelessness. This cannot be achieved without changes to current housing tax settings which encourage speculative investment in existing housing stock, inflate house prices and do little to increase affordable housing stock,” Dr Goldie said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas – 0419 626 155

Social housing shortage leaves nearly 4000 ‘at risk’ applicants out in the cold PDF Print

23 October 2014

The community sector is calling for urgent action to address the State’s social housing shortage ahead of the upcoming election as new figures show tens of thousands of people across NSW are left waiting, sometimes for over ten years.

Council of Social Service of NSW CEO Tracy Howe said figures released today by the Department of Family and Community Services show the social housing shortage is leaving 3941 people waiting for urgent accommodation despite many being at risk of harm, experiencing homelessness or having a severe, ongoing medical condition.

“These numbers alone show the need for swift action to address the State’s social housing shortages.

“In the past people allocated to the priority housing list would receive housing relatively speedily. These are people experiencing a crisis and they need a stable roof over their head. But they are waiting because there isn’t enough accommodation available.”

Ms Howe said the 3941 people with priority status waiting were included in the nearly 60 000 households on waiting lists to access social housing.

“A stable roof over your head is a basic need. Without one people find it almost impossible to get and keep a job, to send their kids to school or to address any other ongoing issues in their lives.

“Services across the sector are telling us that one of the biggest, ongoing issues the people they work with face is finding stable, affordable housing.”

Ms Howe said recent reports that the NSW economy was now the number 1 performer mean the state is in the best position in nearly a decade to address this challenge.

“A clear, funded plan supported by all sides of politics is needed to fix the issue in the long term. Affordable and social housing that is close to jobs, health services and public transport improves people’s ability to contribute to economic and social life and has a positive effect on the wider economy.

“Before the upcoming election we’ll be looking for a plan from all sides of politics to address the housing shortage.

“We all need to recognise that supply of social and affordable housing is a key infrastructure challenge facing the state and all future infrastructure planning must feature growth in social and affordable housing as a critical element.”

NCOSS launched its full election platform last night. It is available for download at speakplanact.net

Media Contact: Laura Maclean, 0412 867 658